Interviewed 15 April 2021
Inspector Rita Delaney is a retired member of An Garda Siochána. A native of Laois, Rita joined the Gardaí in 1984 and spent three decades in the force, before retiring in 2013. In this piece of audio Rita outlines her experience of Dublin in the 1980s, where she was first posted.
JOHN O’BRIEN (INTERVIEWER): By the way in Kevin Street then I know drugs were a big issue and of course you had to deal with fatal traffic accidents and that kind of stuff as well, what is your memory of the drug scene in Kevin Street even as a young guard, Rita?
MS. DELANEY: By the time I had got there in 1984 as you probably know yourself the drugs had taken hold of all the marginalised communities in Dublin. The south inner city was one of the worst. The Dunnes came from there and some of them still lived around there. When I got there in ’84 the Concerned Parents Against Drugs were very active and very dynamic. So we had all these flat complexes, Theresa’s Gardens, we had School Street and then the Kilmainham side you had Michael’s estate and Fatima Mansions and these groups of parents against drugs used to march every so often. So in the wisdom of Garda management the best way to police that particular thing was to put a man on it. Now a man or a woman but they would always say we will put a man on it. So a man was put up on Theresa’s Gardens on a post for six hours at a time and the same happened down in the Kilmainham area. You know, I arrived in December in Kevin Street, it was freezing. Women had no trousers, we didn’t get trousers until about ’89. There I was standing, and so were the rest of my colleagues, men included standing around like chumps trying to blend into the wall and not get beaten up to a pulp. Then if you were there when the concerned parents were doing a march they would never tell you, you needed intelligence to know or they just dropped on you and then all hell broke loose because there used to be well there would be a riot, there would be a riot, yeah, and that is an experience.